Panic in Pep as customers inhale security system’s pepper spray

2014-11-07 00:00

CHAOS filled a Durban city centre clothing store yesterday after a security system containing pepper spray accidentally released on staff and shoppers.

At around 8.15 am members of several ambulance services were called to the second floor of Pep Stores in Pixley ka Isaka Seme (West) Street.

The security system, a motion detecting pepper security spray which when activated can fill a room with the gas, had gone off releasing the gas into the clothing store.

Emergency medical services spokesperson Robert McKenzie said paramedics treated at least 15 people on the scene.

He said it is suspected pepper spray or a similar substance had leaked from a security system.

“Staff members and customers from the store were treated by the paramedics for symptoms resulting from the gas.”

McKenzie said 14 of the patients were transported to a local private hospital.

Pep Stores spokesperson Mariki Schwiebus said the security spray system was activated on the second floor. “Three customers and three store staff were on the second floor at the time. The cause … is being investigated,” she said.

Schwiebus said the store was closed for trading for a short while. “It is fully operational again and there is no danger to potential shoppers,” she said. “We regret this incident that affected our customers and staff in the store.

“We can assure them that every measure will be put into place to prevent similar incidents happening again.”

The police are investigating.

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